- Urban Planning for creative Agency: The theoretical Case of Antwerp    click here to open paper content66 kb
by    Keignaert, Koenraad | k.keignaert@ha.be   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
How to manage urban transformation processes in view of a dynamic society which is marked by inherited socio-cultural structures and institutions? This paper aims to offer a theoretical framework for Antwerp.
Rightly so the question is being asked how to relate spatial transformation to socio-cultural and economic innovation. Factually, we’re dealing with a dialectic relationship here: innovative processes –whether private or public or both– drive the need for spatial transformation and spatial transformations enable or constrain potential processes. Spatial transformations resulting from innovation usually come at a cost: e.g. gentrification, loss of historical identity, increased competition over (abandonment of) spaces with desired (undesirable) attributes.
Any public debate will inevitably revolve around the question whether spatial transformation or morphogenese –thus standing in contrast to morphostasis– is at all times the sole answer to innovative processes. Assuming that the implementation of socio-cultural and economic behavioural patterns is generally supported by spatial configurations, every spatial transformation requires a thorough understanding of the evolution of behavioural patterns –in particular of creative agency– and of historically inherited social structures which have resulted from prior creative agency.
In the case of Amsterdam, Musterd e.a. (2006) accurately observe that the benefits of structures and institutions established centuries ago have returned it to a pole position. During the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam –exemplifying commercial capitalism– made history in the fields of global trade, financial and knowledge-driven services. Present-day spatial transformations –in casu the expansion of international airport, highway and railway links – serve primarily to enhance those inherited benefits. To this should be added the advent of cultural industries. Knowledge-driven (e.g. finance) and culturally (e.g. media) creative professionals make up the hart of the post-industrial economy. Their activities are to a high degree based on face-to-face contact and tacit knowledge. Cities are physical forums were that knowledge can be exchanged and contacts can be made/sustained. This paper –given the growing importance of creative agency– aims to offer a theoretical framework for the management of the urban transformation process in Antwerp.
urban planning, creative society, morphogenese
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